How to Replace a Toilet

Home repair expert Henry Harrison shows how to remove and replace a toilet. On his elbow grease scale of one to four, he gives this job a two.
DIY-1475130_arh123_2a

DIY-1475130_arh123_2a

Materials and Tools:

caulk
plumber's putty
toilet
wax seal
plumber's grease
putty knife
towel
rubbing alcohol
caulk gun
rubber gloves
bucket
sponge
screwdriver
adjustable wrench
locking pliers
pocketknife

DIY-1475129_arh123_2b

DIY-1475129_arh123_2b

Steps:

1. Turn off water at the supply line and flush toilet to drain water. Put on rubber gloves and remove remaining water using a sponge and bucket. Disconnect water supply line from bottom of tank. Loosen bolts on base of toilet using an adjustable wrench.

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DIY-1475128_arh123_2c

2. Cut the caulk seal around the base of the bowl using a pocketknife. Rock the toilet back and forth to make sure it is loose. Have a friend help you carry it away. Remove wax seal using a putty knife. Stuff an old towel into the opening to block sewer gasses.

DIY-1475127_arh123_2d

DIY-1475127_arh123_2d

3. Clean the floor around the opening with rubbing alcohol. Apply a bead of caulk around the base of the new bowl. The caulk is primarily to eliminate gaps and make for a neater installation. If there is a significant leak around the wax ring it makes its way through the caulk.

DIY-1475126_arh123_2e

DIY-1475126_arh123_2e

4. Remove towel blocking opening and place the new wax ring between the bolts. Lift the bowl into place while a friend helps guide it into place. Don't press it down, but instead allow the weight of the bowl to compress the wax seal.

DIY-1475125_arh123_2f

DIY-1475125_arh123_2f

5. Before putting the tank in place, apply a coat of plumber's grease to the spud washer at the base of the tank. You can substitute petroleum jelly if you don't have plumber's grease. Lift the tank into place and carefully line up the mounting bolts.

DIY-1475123_arh123_2h

DIY-1475123_arh123_2h

6. Slide the washer onto the bolts and tighten the nut by hand. Use a large screwdriver to fully tighten the bolts inside the tank. Do not over tighten the bolts or you could crack the tank.

DIY-1475122_arh123_2i

DIY-1475122_arh123_2i

7. Replace mounting bolts on base of bowl. Check to see if the toilet is level. If it is, reconnect the water supply line, turn on the water, fill up the tank and give it a test flush and check for leaks.

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